From Show bets to Trifectas, there are a variety of ways to wager on the Run for the Roses. Our staff compiled their Kentucky Derby betting strategies with $100 at their disposal. You may find a few bets below that you hadn’t considered betting, or you might just get confirmation of a direction you were leaning.
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Kentucky Derby Betting Strategy: $100 On The Line
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Click here to read up on all of Stephen’s favorite Kentucky Derby wagers.
$60 Trifecta (Taiba/Messier/Epicenter):
Each of these horses posted a 100+ Beyer Speed Figure during prep races this year. In 10 of the last 12 Kentucky Derbies, the winner posted a 100 BSF in the victory.
$20 on Epicenter to win (+350):
I like what I saw from Epicenter in the Louisiana Derby, which is the longest prep race on the circuit (1 3-16 miles). He won by 2 1/2 lengths, quite literally running away with the race.
$10 on Zandon to win (+300):
Many call Zandon a surprising Morning Line favorite, and there’s likely a reason behind it. His BSF improved with every race, eventually leading to a 98 in the Blue Grass Stakes (G1).
$10 on beer (no, this isn’t the name of a horse in the Kentucky Derby):
Editor’s note: We’ve determined that no craft beer is $10, so Brett will purchase cheap, watery beer instead.
$10 on Epicenter to win (+350):
Epicenter comes in as the second-favorite in this race — just behind the favorite Zandon at +300. One of the things I like about Epicenter is the steady improvement of his Beyer Speed Figures over his racing career.
Epicenter hit his peak of 102 in March at the Louisiana Derby, which he won. He has had dominant performances in his prep races, winning four of his last five and losing by only a head in Lecomte. He is one of the more “experienced” horses out there, winning four of his six lifetime races.
$5 on Zandon Show bet:
It’s hard to ignore the favorite here, especially since the favorite has won six times, placed second once, and come in fourth place twice since 2013 — when the current points system to determine Derby qualifiers started. The horse definitely has talent and picked up a lot of buzz after winning the Blue Grass Stakes in April, but the Beyer Speed Figures give me a little pause.
Zandon’s current peak is just 98, with the Derby at a Beyer Par of 103. He also recently lost to Epicenter in the Risen Star Stakes back in February. I’m not so sure he can win it, but I like his chances of finishing in the top three.
$5 on Taiba Show bet:
The aforementioned Baffert won’t be at the Derby this year, but his former horses will be. Taiba was transferred to the care of Tim Yakteen, one of Baffert’s former assistants, when Churchill Downs imposed its ban on Baffert, stemming from Medina Spirit’s failed post-race drug test at the 2021 Kentucky Derby.
Taiba is one of the more inexperienced horses in this race, but he is fast, securing Beyer Speed Figures of 102 and 103 in his first and only two races. He won the Santa Anita Derby last month, beating out stablemate Messier in the 1 1/8 mile race. He seems to have more fight than Messier, and it’s hard not to root for the young colt to be the first since the late 1800s to win the Derby in just his third start.
The challenge for Taiba comes with the size of the field, his first two races were against a handful of other horses. There’s no way to know how he will handle 20 horses on the track.
- $1 Trifecta (Epicenter/Taiba/Zandon)
- $1 Trifecta (Epicenter/Zandon/Taiba)
- $1 Trifecta (Taiba/Epicenter/Messier)
Editor’s note: Nicole will play craps at Caesars with her remaining $77.
Kentucky Derby Betting: How To Wager On Horse Racing
For those of you who are new to betting on horse racing, the video below will walk you through all the different types of wagers you can make and what they mean.